Al-Dostour party officials denied on Sunday the formation of an alliance with moderate Islamist parties Strong Egypt and the Egypt Party.
Several newspapers reported that Mohamed ElBaradei’s Al-Dostour was set to join television preacher Amr Khalid’s Egypt Party and former presidential candidate Abdel Moniem Aboul Fotouh’s Strong Egypt Party after the three leaders met together Saturday.
Al-Dostour founding member Ahmed El-Hawary said: “These reports are unfounded and if we enter an alliance we will announce it in an official press conference”
He added that the party was committed to its role within the National Salvation Front, an opposition bloc, and would not take any decisions without consulting with the front.
The NSF was formed following President Mohamed Morsy’s 22 November constitutional decree as a united opposition coalition, intending to bring down the decree and the then-proposed constitution.
Following the adoption of the constitution it announced it would contest parliamentary elections on a united list. Reports of ElBaradei’s party forging alliances outside the front, of which he is general coordinator and one of the three main figures, signalled disunity within NSF.
Khaled Abdel Aziz, former minister of state for youth and sports affairs and Egypt Party member said: “We did sit down with representatives of Al-Dostour and Strong Egypt but we reached nothing final yet.”
Abdel Aziz was tasked with leading a committee looking into a possible alliance, alongside Al-Dostour Deputy Chairman and former labour minister Ahmed El-Borai and Al-Dostour member Ahmed Abdel Gawad.
Abdel Aziz said: “Dr ElBaradei said that if he were to form an alliance with us it would be within the context of the National Salvation Front. People are acting like he is leaving the front but this is far from the truth, we are trying to form the widest coalition possible.”
When asked if this meant Strong Egypt and the Egypt Party would join NSF he said that the idea was difficult to implement, due to figures and parties on both sides not willing to cooperate with each other.
Aboul Fotouh and former Arab League Secretary General and foreign minister Amr Moussa contested the presidential elections against each other and have since developed a rivalry. Cooperation between Aboul Fotouh’s Strong Egypt and Moussa’s Conference Party is a hard sell to members of both.
Aboul Fotouh made earlier statements saying his party would not join the NSF due to the presence of former regime officials and supporters; he was mainly referring to Moussa. Furthermore, all parties within the NSF so far are non-Islamist parties. Strong Egypt and, to a lesser extent, Egypt Party identify themselves as moderate Islamists.
Abdel Aziz said: “Yes there are difficulties but Moussa’s party and his supporters include strong ancient families that win elections, some of which did indeed run as part of [Mubarak’s] National Democratic Party but not due to any ideological affiliation, they would win anyway and the regime needed them.”
He added that the Egypt Party was meeting with other parties within the NSF to discuss alliances as well: “We are meeting with the Free Egyptians Party and the Egyptian Social Democratic Party today.
“The object is to form the strongest and widest alliance possible, but even if we cannot form an alliance, we want to at least not compete against each other and waste our efforts, so if we won’t work together we at least want to ensure we don’t work against each other.”